Stretch marks are considered a skin condition that can occur at various times of your life. They are commonly associated with pregnancy, but other factors can cause these dreaded red and pink stripes. Anyone can develop stretch marks – males, females, children, teens and adults. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons often refer to stretch marks as striae (scarred skin). In addition, many physicians and surgeons have started to treat stretch marks with Fraxel laser treatments (cosmetic treatments that use lasers to address skin blemishes like: wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, sun-damaged skin, acne scars and stretch marks). If you are wondering if you can reduce stretch marks with Fraxel laser treatments – you have come to the right place. This article will teach your how to zap away your stretch marks with Fraxel laser treatments.
Stretch Mark Formation
If you have stretch marks – you are not alone. Almost everyone gets stretch marks at some time in their lives. In fact, the majority of women get mild-to-moderate stretch marks during pregnancy. Growth spurts, muscle development, rapid weight gain, obesity and/or medications (i.e. steroids) can also cause your skin to stretch. Stretch marks are small tears in the middle layer of your skin (the dermis). More specifically, stretch marks occur when the collagen in your skin becomes damaged and breaks down. In some cases, the marks fade with time, but in other cases they persist, becoming waxy-looking, bulky and “scar-like” in texture. Stretch marks can occur on your thighs, buttocks, abdomen, stomach, upper arms, hips, breasts, lower back and sometimes even your neck.
Fraxel Laser Treatments
What are Fraxel laser treatments? Fraxel laser treatments were created in 2003 by the skin care company, Solta. Fraxel is an FDA-approved cosmetic treatment that uses lasers to treat a variety of skin conditions (i.e. wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, Melasma, stretch marks, soft tissue coagulation, surgical scars, Keratoses and sun-damaged skin) in a few, easy and painless sessions. Fraxel laser treatments consist of four types of fractional resurfacing – Refine, Restore, Restore Dual and Repair. With fractional laser resurfacing treatments, smaller areas of your skin are treated.
During a treatment session, lasers create thousands of tiny lacerations within the layers of your skin. The skin surrounding the treatment site remains unharmed. In other words, this type of treatment avoids your healthy skin cells and only focuses on the cells that require regrowth. In fact only 20% of your skin (i.e. elastin and collagen) is renewed with each treatment session. Fraxel laser treatments not only get rid of dead and diseased skin and encourage collagen production, they also reduce stretch marks.
Stretch Marks & Fraxel Laser Treatments
Fraxel laser treatments are highly effective for stretch marks. The number of treatments required, heavily depends on the condition of your skin and your desired outcome. In most situations, four to six Fraxel laser treatments are needed to obtain significant results. During treatment, the area of skin that is going to receive the laser is thoroughly cleaned. Next, a topical anesthetic is applied to the stretch marks to numb the skin and prevent discomfort. You are then given protective eye wear to prevent the lasers from damaging your eyes. The laser is then moved over the stretch marks. Depending on the size of the area, it normally takes approximately thirty minutes to complete. Fraxel laser treatments can cost between $500.00 and $5,000.00 total.
Recovery & Follow-Up Care
Following Fraxel laser treatments, your skin may feel sun-burned. In other words, your skin may be swollen, red, bruised and tender. You may also notice slight peeling and flaking in the treatment area. Do not fret – this is a normal skin reaction to the lasers. The good news is that the discomfort should subside within a few days. It is important that you avoid sun exposure immediately following the treatment and that you use all of the creams, ointments and/or lotions prescribed by your doctor for follow-up care. If you must venture into the sunshine, wear a high-level sun block. It is important to note that you will not be able to have another treatment for at least two or three weeks. Lastly, do not forget to moisturize your skin on a daily basis.
American Health and Beauty. (2014). Fractional resurfacing. Retrieved from http://www.americanhealthandbeauty.com/fractional-resurfacing
Solta. (2014). Fraxel and you. Retrieved from http://www.fraxel.com/consumer/fraxel-and-you
WebMD. (2014). Your skin and stretch marks. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/beauty/stretch-marks/stretch-marks
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